I am 61 years old. Am I a senior citizen?
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Senior citizens are people who have reached an advanced age that is considered to be beyond middle age. The designation of senior citizen can begin at several specific levels of advanced age, but the title is rarely applied before age 50. Also known as seniors, elderly people are entitled to various benefits after reaching certain age levels, including senior discounts, reduced fees on medical care, and special insurance rates.
Numerous medical advances in the past century have significantly increased human life expectancy, creating a huge population of senior citizens. For the first time in history, improved health practices are allowing the elderly to enjoy longer, healthier lives. Many of the maladies that plagued the elderly in the past can be prevented or effectively treated today, including heart disease, cancer, bone loss, and many others. Of course, there is still no “cure” for aging, but it is possible for seniors to remain healthy and mentally astute well into old age.
In some regions, the high concentration of senior citizens eligible for old age benefits and pensions has caused financial strain on government programs, such as Medicare and Social Security in the US. To compensate for a population that is living longer, as well as the high number of applicants, US Social Security is gradually increasing the age requirement to receive retirement benefits from 65 to 67; and there is a good possibility of further adjustment to age 69 before long.
On the other end of the spectrum, many commercial enterprises are willing to offer discounts to senior citizens who are barely out of middle age. Retail stores and restaurants will commonly offer a senior discount to people who have reached 50 or 55 years of age. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) actively solicits people to join with other seniors starting at age 50.
One advantage of aging in today’s world is that old people can be active, productive members of the community. The elderly can offer considerable life experience and wisdom that comes with age, and they provide a fascinating connection to the past. Seniors can mentor young people, visit the sick, or volunteer to help the underprivileged. With attention to preventive health measures, good nutrition, mental stimulation and daily exercise, senior citizens can truly enjoy retirement and the benefits of advanced age.